Category Archives: basil

Lamb Chops and Pesto Orecchiette

My friend Joe at work is always raving about the orecchiette at Lupa. I decided that I was craving it too and decided to serve it with the delicious lamb chops I got on sale at Fresh Direct.

Lamb chops:
2 lbs 1 ½-inch thick lamb loin chops
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup white wine

Preheat an over to 325 degrees. Heat a skillet with a metal handle on medium high heat and add the olive oil. Season the lamb chops with the salt and pepper, garlic powder and thyme. Brown the lamb chops on one side, flip them over, insert a thermometer into one of the chops and place the pan in the oven until the meat is medium rare. Remove the lamb chops from the pan and set aside to rest. Place the pan back on the heat, add the white wine and deglaze the pan until the white is reduced by half.

Pesto Orecchiette:
1 large bunch of basil leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 lb box of orecchiette

Place the basil leaves, garlic powder, cheese, and pine nuts in a blender. Turn the blender on and stream in olive oil until it all forms a paste but is not too liquidly from too much oil. Taste it and add salt and pepper if needed.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the orecchiette according to package directions. Once cooked, drain the excess water and toss in the pesto sauce.


Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Ricotta Gnocchi

Gnocchi is truly a comfort food. The best thing is that it feels really special but is really fast and easy to make. You can flavor it a million different ways, but when I crave it, the classic mozzarella, tomato and basil takes the cake.

Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Ricotta Gnocchi
2 large eggs
15 oz ricotta, just under 2 cups
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup flour
8 oz can of tomato sauce
½ lb mini mozzarella balls, quartered
1 bunch basil leaves, chiffonade
4 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
salt and pepper

Heat a large pot of lightly salted water, to boil on high heat.

In a metal bowl, beat the eggs. Add in the ricotta, cheese and spices. Mix thoroughly with a fork, make sure to break up all of the cheese clumps. Add in the flour and stir to combine. Generously flour your work surface then finish mixing the dough with your hands, it will be pretty wet. Cut the dough in half and roll it in the flour, to coat the outside. Then roll it out into a long snake, till it is about 1 inch in diameter. Using a small paring knife, cut into 1 inch pieces.

Once the water comes to a boil, drop the first batch of gnocchi into the boiling water, making sure not to over crowd the pan. Let it boil for about 5 minutes till done. It will all rise to the top and the water will start to boil higher. While the first batch is cooking, roll out the other batch and cut it. Remove one piece of gnocchi and run it under cold water and taste it to make sure it is cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, drain the first batch to a colander, rinse quickly in cold water to keep it from sticking. Add more water to the pot and return it to a boil. Once boiling, add in the second batch of gnocchi and cook it till done. Drain the cooked gnocchi.

Heat the can of sauce on medium high heat. Taste it and add salt and pepper if needed. Add the mozzarella, basil, grated cheese and gnocchi into the sauce. Toss everything together and serve immediately.